Day 5 – Feral

I actually read this before posting it!

Word count: 1351

Mud squelched between his bare toes as he ran. One foot after the other; faster and faster; slamming their feral foot prints into the ground. Branches and leaves whipped him as he streaked passed. Nimble, malleable, the young boy contorted his body around them, twisting it into the tiniest of spaces. Deceptively meek, he reigned the forest and had eyes that could tame the skies.

Almost as suddenly as he had begun, he stopped running and stood as still as photograph. Though his eyes wondered but a tiny fraction, his ears were all knowing. The tiniest twig snapping, the wind changing direction; perhaps even a bird escaping into the sky: he was on the lookout. He was caught somewhere between hunting and being watched. It was hard tell, and from his weary, greyed complexion, the young boy could never be sure himself. Scars and old wounds lined his torso, his chin and arms. He was a walking war memorial for past injuries.

There was a wildness to this boy that could not be described. No language had yet come to his lips. No words of love, explanation or experience. The world in which he lived was a constant dynamic; reliably unsafe and dangerous. Each day was a struggle for survival and a challenge that no one but himself could undertake. It had been years since he’d seen one of his own kind. He could barely remember what they might look like. He only had memories of prey and of foe. The young boy was a solitary survivor in a forest where he was king purely by chance.

His life was measured in sunrises. If he could make it through the cold, dark, dangerous night then he was victorious. If he could run faster than they could; he would live to see the twinkling lights that shone out of the dark blue sea above. Little lighthouses to where he was in the world; his place, his home.

The boy turned around suddenly. He felt something; something thudding, running. A deep vibration in the earth beneath him. He sensed it almost as if he could see it. And the feeling filtered up through his chest from his heart: from the very depths of his instinct. Run.

Faster and faster he sprinted. He knew only the next few steps ahead. There was no plan, no diversion, no attack. There was only running. He felt the skin on his back tingle as if he were being watched; as if the very thing that was chasing him was breathing just millimetres away behind him. He did not dare look back and see what it could be.

The trees began to open up a little. The dense forest was intermittently being interrupted by light streaming in from above. As he ran further, it thinned enough for him to see the sky fully. But almost as soon as he’d caught sight of the blinding sun, did his feet stumble on sharp rock. He was brought to his knees, slicing a bloody strip in his hands as he fell. The boy looked up, panic beaming from his irises, only to see that his life had been saved – at least briefly – from an almost certain death, for what lay just inches away from his hands was a deep ravine. It was so deep that hardly any light fell on it. The boy could see it twisting its way through the forest far off into the distance.

There was little time for wonder, though. He leapt to his feet and scanned the vicinity for somewhere to hide. The area was lined with thick bushes, but it was in height that he must seek security. There was a tree by him. Its roots coiled over one another like snakes. Its tall trunk leant inwards towards the ravine. Beautifully green and magnificently grand, it stood a giant among its neighbours.

The boy gripped his arms on its branches and twined his feet into the grooves of the tree. Like a monkey, he swung himself up to the sky. Each move was as effortless as the last. His breath nor balance never seemed to fail him. It was as if he knew the geography of the tree; where each branch was and would be next. He had reached the some way from the bottom before he knew it. Whether or not whatever was chasing him could sense he was there or whether it had even managed to chase him this far, the boy could no longer care. He had reached such a height that he could now see for miles. He could see the mountains beyond – dark purple, snow dusted and menacingly jagged against the serene sky – and he wondered to himself, in some nomadic fashion, whether he would ever reach them. Would he ever see the world from the highest peak, would ever touch the white powder to which they were so intricately decorated with? Slightly nearer was the edge of the forest – the vast grasslands he’d not yet a language to name. Tiny dots littered the plain – life beyond himself.

Like a cat, he crawled along a thick branch – leaving the comfort of the tree trunk and rested on a branch that overhung the ravine. He could see the bark that broke off in his hands as he gripped on tightly, spiral and twirl their way down to the depths. He let his feet dangle and felt a strange wave of feeling come over him.

From above he watched the rapids below and knew the consequences if he were to fall. He knew of the cacophony of currents that would drag him under the water. He knew what the sharp rocks several tens of metres beneath his feet would do to him if he were to slip right now. But there was another side of him, screaming and yelling to him and the audience inside his head for it was growing.

The ravine was just narrow enough for the trees on either side of it to have grown almost together. Some of their twigs and thinner branches were touching and intertwined. And it so happened that just a few metres away from the branch that he was now sitting on was another branch of similar build. It looked strong enough to carry his weight, just. The boy rose to his feet and balanced on the branch with thoughtless ease. He might make it, he thought to himself. He might not. He might fall. He might die. He might land.

He was intoxicated with the idea now. The chance had gripped him. The luck and the skill involved enticed him, lured him; seduced him. Though quite what it was that behind that mask of dark seduction he did not know; was it death, peering through her black veil?

He took another look at the ravine below and another at the branch so close and yet so far. As the sun sunk behind a cloud, he took a few steps backwards and rested the flat of his palm against the trunk of the tree once more. His heart raced, blood throbbing to his head and instinct flooding through his veins.

In an instant his choice was made. He found his feet thrusting his body forward as they scarcely gripped the branch. With a gravity defying leap he soared into the air – the wind rushing underneath him and the world completely detached from him. He was no longer part of the land, he was of the sky; he was flying up there with the little lighthouses, with the scorching sun; riding the thermals alongside the most magnificent of birds, if only for a brief moment in time. And it was in this encapsulated, rhapsodic period of time that he could now make sense of the burning volition and the seductress behind the visage… for in that time it no longer became the need to jump or the desire to fly, and instead the luck to deceive death’s clutches and to jump if but the chance to fall……….

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~ by S.G. Mark on October 12, 2011.

10 Responses to “Day 5 – Feral”

  1. That was awesome.

    I had a really good mental image.

  2. That woz kool. I sumtymz feel like that dude.
    Am impressed that you are managing to keep going with these tales.
    Don’t look down… just keep jumping.

  3. Shud be taking my own advice and have sed CONTINUE jumping.

  4. here’s an idea:
    http://www.gunauction.com/help/forum/DisplayForum.cfm?SubjectID=33343

  5. Here is a bit of inspiration:
    http://www.gunauction.com/help/forum/DisplayForum.cfm?SubjectID=33343

  6. Gun auction ????

  7. click on link. it’s a mutha squirrel atakin a lab

  8. aye, i did! i was just more surprised you were on a gun selling website!

  9. I was not. Hate the things. Don’t know your email so had to google a link for the squirrels. This site was first that came up that featured it.

  10. ahh right, that’s good. i didn’t think you were the type to like guns – so i was a bit surprised!

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